While the folks in DC have the real front row seat to history today, New Yorkers were once at the center of the Inaugural events. Our own Joe Schumacher looks back to April 30th, 1789 when George Washington took the oath of office at Federal Hall on Wall Street; his address from that day can be seen here (transcript). By giving an address he began a tradition that's been followed by every elected president after him (four years later he delivered the 2nd one, which still holds the record for the shortest at 135 words). This morning New Yorkers gathered on the steps of the historic address for a special ringing of the NYSE bell.

The building "was also the first Capitol of the United States under the Constitution and is where the Bill of Rights was drafted. Before and after serving its federal duties the original building served as New York's City Hall until 1812." In 1842 a new Hall was built, which is what stands there at 26 Wall Street today—however, part of the original railing and balcony floor where Washington was inaugurated are on display inside. The NY Historical Society currently has an exhibit which includes Washington’s inaugural chair and a balustrade from Federal Hall.